A joint investigation carried out by law enforcement authorities from 18 countries and supported by Europol, resulted in the seizure of 4.7 million counterfeit products. During the operation Aphrodite II against trafficking of counterfeit goods, 16 470 social media accounts and 3 400 websites selling counterfeit products were closed.
The online fake goods marketers were selling a large variety of counterfeit items including clothes and accessories, sports equipment, illegal IPTV set-top boxes, medicines, spare car parts, mobile phones, miscellaneous electronic devices and components, perfumes and cosmetics.
The operation led to the arrest of more than 30 suspects and reported 110 others to respective judicial authorities. A select number of suspects are part of two distinct criminal networks responsible for producing and trafficking in counterfeit products online. Several investigations are still ongoing.
Europol’s Intellectual Property Crime Coordinated Coalition (IPC3) and the Italian Finance Corps (Guardia di Finanza) coordinated the joint investigation, with cooperation from the private sector. The European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) supported the activities of IPC3 with a grant. Law enforcement agencies from Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czechia, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Malta, Netherlands, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Spain, Ukraine and the United Kingdom are all involved in the operation. <